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Press Release US Federal Court Orders against the PA and PLO are Legal at the Surface

 Press Release

US Federal Court Orders against the PA and PLO 

are Legal at the Surface, Political in Essence, and should be addressed with high professionalism

The Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) were found liable on by a U.S. court for attacks in Jerusalem over 10 years ago and on that basis fined USD $218 million.

The Jury Panel of 12 Jurors at a Manhattan federal court held the trial last Friday (20/2/2015), were both the PA and PLO were facing a case filed against them by American-Israeli dual nationals, for their claimed role in a series of attacks in and around Jerusalem between 2001 and 2004 and left several causalities[1].

The case that has been filed since 2004 had never been approved earlier by the court for the reasons of "being outside its areas of jurisdiction". Recently, the appeals court approved proceeding with the case, with the approval officially taking place last month following the joining of the State of Palestine to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the calls made by Palestinians to sue Israeli officials; which raises some doubts that the proceedings are more of a punishment against joining the ICC[2].  This has been frankly reflected in the statements by the Prime Minister of the Israeli Occupation State, Binyamin Netanyahu, who commended the court's order adding in a written statement that "instead of drawing the requisite lesson, the Palestinian Authority is advancing steps that endanger regional stability such as the hypocritical application to the International Criminal Court even as it is allied with the Hamas terrorist organization"[3].

The order was issued following an earlier decision by the Israeli Occupation State to freeze an amount of USD $128 million due to the PA. The amount is part of the Palestinian taxes collected by the Israelis; while these taxes constitute almost half the income of the Palestinian treasury, the Israeli contravention came following the announcement of Palestine's membership in the ICC[4].

The court order comes regardless of the PA signing of several agreements with Israel on security arrangements, and continuous condemnation of attacks carried by resistance factions inside the Palestinian lands occupied in 1948, and also regardless of the continuous efforts by the PA to prevent the occurrence of such attacks.

The legal battle against the Israeli Occupation and its continuous violations has thus officially started, following the Palestinian membership in several international conventions, including the Rome Statute of the ICC. The grave challenges facing the "new" state of Palestine should not deter us from proceeding forward in suing the criminals of the Israeli Occupation.

In light of the order by the US federal court, we at the Palestinian Association for Human Rights - Witness call to the following:

1.     Appealing to the US federal court in the aforementioned case against the PA and PLO

2.     Urgently establishing a team of highly specialized legal professionals, representing the different Palestinian political and social groups, as a national platform with a dedicated budget, to become the legal Palestinian authority of reference.

3.     Calling upon the concerned court to revisit its order, and investigate the many crimes and violations committed against Palestinian American dual nationals.

4.     Re-affirming the Right of the Palestinian People to sue the Israeli criminals of war, at all costs.

5.     Mobilizing Palestinian and Arab efforts, namely at the Diplomatic level, to support the efforts in the legal battle against the Israeli Occupation.

 Beirut, 04/03/2015

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights - Witness